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Sam Michael, Williams - Q&A

30 August 2011

Williams technical director Sam Michael looks back at the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps, where Pastor Maldonado broke his F1 points' duck and became the first Venezuelan to score a F1 World Championship point since Johnny Cecotto back in 1983....


Q:
Sam, Pastor scored his first world championship point at Spa. Can you sum up his performance?

Sam Michael:
Pastor drove well to come through from 21st to 10th in Belgium. At some stages he was further up the order but he was hurt by the safety car as he had just pitted. Overall he did a great job.

Q:
Pastor came together with Lewis Hamilton in qualifying. What was your reaction to his five-place grid penalty?

Sam Michael:
I understand the penalty applied by the stewards of the meeting and respect it.

Q:
How did the lack of dry running on Friday and Saturday affect the team's race preparations?

Sam Michael:
It meant that it was tricky to get answers on the aero comparisons we did. There was also no tyre degradation data. However, it was the same for everyone.

Q:
Did the FW33 suffer from excessive tyre wear in dry conditions, like many other teams?

Sam Michael:
No. We did have some blistering, particularly on Pastor's car, but it was entirely manageable.

Q:
The team took lots of aero upgrades to Spa. How did they perform?

Sam Michael:
All our upgrades performed well.

Q:
Rubens [Barrichello] set the third fastest lap of the race. Does that give you confidence going forward?

Sam Michael:
His lap was set with just two laps of the race remaining and with a fresh set of tyres. I was more encouraged by the race performance that was on average 0.7s/lap off the race winner, and at some stages during the race we were lapping on the same pace as the top cars.

Q:
Monza comes next. How do you expect the FW33 to perform at the Italian Grand Prix?

Sam Michael:
It will be similar to Spa-Francorchamps with the low drag / higher downforce trade-off on the rear wing level.


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